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CERN’s Press Office is responsible for all media visits to CERN.
Journalists from all over the world come to CERN to visit its installations, interview scientists or film reports for documentaries: each year the Press Office welcomes around 700 journalists from 400 different media organisations and deals with an even greater number of requests by phone and e-mail.
None of this would be possible without you, the members of CERN’s personnel and its users: you are always ready and willing to talk about your work. We are grateful that so many of you voluntarily spend time with journalists to spread CERN’s key message: that fundamental science drives knowledge and innovation.
We have prepared a number of resources to help you prepare for interactions with the press, whether by telephone, by e-mail or in person.
- The LHC media briefing document contains a list of the most frequently asked questions, with sample responses for the most complex among them. It was drafted at the time of the first high-energy collisions, an event that attracted considerable media attention, but many of the questions remain relevant today. New sections are added regularly. Don’t hesitate to contact us at email@example.com to let us know if anything is missing.
- The page entitled The safety of the LHC summarises the main elements of the report by the LHC Safety Assessment Group (LSAG), which aimed to address concerns about the possible consequences of particle collisions at the high energies of the LHC. The report concluded that the collisions produced at the LHC present no danger and that there is no cause for concern.
- The page entitled CERN answers queries from social media lists the most frequently asked questions on Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms on which CERN has a presence, along with our standard answers. The subjects covered include religious and supernatural issues.
- As representatives of CERN, you are required to observe the Social Media Guidelines when you publish information on social media. You can find more information on the use of social media at CERN here.
Some further practical advice:
What should I do if a journalist contacts me to request a telephone interview?
Members of the personnel are authorised to respond in an individual capacity to requests from journalists regarding the explanation of scientific facts, life and activities at CERN, personal work, etc. However, you should take care not to provide information that is confidential or political in nature or that commits the Organization to a particular future course of action. If you have any doubts about how to respond, do not hesitate to contact us. Only the Press Office is authorised to deal with requests for official information. If you give an interview, we encourage you to prepare thoroughly, thinking about the questions you are likely to be asked and the answers you may wish to give.
What should I do if a journalist or photographer calls me and asks if they can visit CERN?
First of all, let us know, as we are responsible for all press visits on the site. We can normally accommodate all requests to visit CERN from journalists, but we need at least one month’s notice to schedule and prepare visits. We are sometimes able to accept last-minute requests, depending on our workload.
Can I accompany a film crew to my experiment’s control room or cavern?
Inform us of any potential visit, and we will check with your collaboration if such a visit is possible.
Can I sign an image rights release form given to me by a television crew after an interview?
Do not sign any externally produced document and let us know if you receive such a request from a television crew. On request, we can issue an equivalent document drafted by CERN’s Legal Service, which you can sign without any worries.
Can I blog about the status or results of the LHC?
The Education, Communication and Outreach (ECO) group is responsible for CERN’s official communications, which are disseminated by various means, including via social media. For example, CERN tweets all of its press releases and information about the status of the LHC (https://twitter.com/CERNpress). You can also write about such subjects on your blog, but please respect the guidelines set by your collaboration and by CERN.
Does CERN offer any media training for scientists?
Yes. CERN organises special awareness sessions in collaboration with an external company in order to help you understand how the media works and why certain subjects are considered newsworthy while others are not.
CERN and the LHC are regularly in the news, so we are all liable to be asked to explain what is happening at CERN to journalists, friends or neighbours. By following this training course, you will learn how to answer questions in an interview with a journalist (and what pitfalls you should avoid).
If you wish to take a course, please sign up here: Dealing with Media Questions.
If you cannot attend a training session in person, you can consult this material:
Is there a procedure formally describing what to do when I am contacted by a media?
Yes, there is; you can access it via the Admin e-guide.